GHS: A Refresher

As the first major US deadline for the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling approaches, people are starting to ask the basic questions all over again. And fair enough. Top question?

“Remind me, what’s the difference between OSHA’s previous HazCom standard and the new one (for GHS)?

The new HazCom Standard is written as a modification to the existing standard. The parts of the standard that do not relate to the GHS, or that are already consistent with it, are unchanged. Accordingly, some terms have also been updated. We are no longer going to “assess” so much as we are going to “classify” (see image below). And “material safety data sheet” has been changed to the simpler, “safety data sheet.”

changes-in-HCS-2013

Changes in purpose of the HCS, this is also interesting:

OSHA-HCS-updates

For more, see a comparison of the entire document online, line by line. But this primer should remind you. And key deadlines for the new GHS?  Coming soon in a separate blog post. For 2013 what we need to pay attention to is this one:

2013-HazCom-deadlines

And what does “training” mean, exactly?

The GHS states in Chapter 1.4, Section1.4.9, the importance of training all target audiences to recognize and interpret label and/or SDS information — and to take appropriate action in response to chemical hazards. Training requirements should be “appropriate for and commensurate with the nature of the work or exposure.”

Key target audiences include workers, emergency responders and also those responsible for developing labels and SDSs. To varying degrees, the training needs of additional target audiences have to be addressed. These should include training for persons involved in transport and strategies required for educating consumers in interpreting label information on products that they use.

Here is a helpful brochure summarizing what your employees need to know/be competent in by November 30, 2013: http://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3642.pdf

If you’re curious about technology that can help you comply, consider the award-winning SDS Vault program. (Award information is rolled into a dynamic case study with the manufacturer of Behr paints.)

About Kal

Kal Kawar, CIH, PE, has a bachelor's in chemical engineering and a master's in industrial hygiene. His professional experience includes serving as staff industrial hygienist for IBM's New York semiconductor manufacturing facility, and as industrial hygienist for IBM’s US headquarters. Now executive vice president of Actio, Kal taps more than 20 years' worth of chemical engineering, industrial hygiene, and environmental engineering experience. His far-reaching expertise with global regulatory challenges created by EPA, TSCA, REACH, RoHS, WEEE – and hundreds of others – aid in developing Actio software solutions for MSDS management, raw material disclosure compliance, and product stewardship in a supply chain.
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